The top 5 reasons our editors are making their own stock this winter.
Credit: Greg DuPree

You can always tells when soup season rolls around. Suddenly you crave a warm, cozy bowl of chicken noodle soup, and everyone is talking about the best recipes or brands that taste like what Grandma used to make.

But, the key to every good soup is a really flavorful stock. Sure, you can buy a boxed stock (and if you do, be sure to consider our Taste Test: Low-Sodium Stocks and Broths), but there are so many reasons why it’s worth it to make your own. 

It Cuts Down on Waste

Most stock recipes extract the delicious flavors from parts of food we would otherwise toss. Vegetable peels, meat bones, and leftover fresh herbs are common ingredients to add to the pot for a deep, rich flavor.

Keep a bag of food scraps in your kitchen for the week, and by the weekend you can toss them into a pot for the perfect stock. This is especially useful during the holidays when bones and peels are often thrown away during cleanup.

You Can Control Your Sodium

Stocks and broths are often packed with salt to improve taste, and low-sodium versions can get a little pricey or truly lack flavor. By making your own stock, you can control the amount of sodium for taste and dietary preferences.

Also, salty stock that’s been reduced into a sauce, gravy, soup, or dish that includes other salty ingredients (like cured meat, cheese, or croutons) can become way too overpowering. From a culinary perspective, salting to taste is always ideal.

Your House Will Smell Great

Fall is the time for pumpkin-scented candles, while warmer months are ideal for peach hand soap and ocean-scented air fresheners. But winter brings hearty scents, straight from the kitchen.

Bake a batch of gingerbread cookies (like these Gingerfolk cookies) and your house will smell like Christmas. Cook a pot full of delicious stock, and your house will smell like a steamy bowl of soup ready to warm you from the inside out. Have we convinced you yet?

It Lasts Longer

You probably don’t always keep a carton of stock on-hand, and once you open it the leftovers won’t last you very long. When you make your own stock, it’s easy to store some in the fridge for instant use or tuck it in the freezer for later. 

Our favorite storage method is to freeze the stock in a tightly closed mason jar, leaving room at the top for the liquid to expand without shattering the glass.It defrosts easily in the fridge overnight, and will be ready to use up in no time. No more wasted stock or last-minute runs to the grocery store.

The Flavor Is Unreal

Needless to say, the number one reason we love homemade stock is for the flavor. You can tailor it to your tastes (go ahead, drop an entire bulb of garlic in there), and there’s nothing quite like a freshly made pot of broth.

Try one of our great stock recipes in your next homemade soup.